JH: Every one is buzzing about the talent of Derrick Green and what he can bring to the running backs this season if the coaching staff decide to play him. Who do you feel will be the starting running back and will Green see any extended playing time this season? Do you feel he is too talented to redshirt?
JH: The quarterback situation gets particularly murky when looking at the depth chart. If Devin Gardner were to go down, there isn’t exactly depth as far as in-game experience on the chart due to Bellomy tearing his ACL. Shane Morris has been particularly hyped coming in to this season as well. Do you feel the coaching staff will try to redshirt him and hope that Gardner doesn’t get hurt? Or do you see him getting some playing time in garbage minutes?
Chengelis: Murky is a kind description. If Gardner gets hurt, that’s a swing of a LOT of games. I keep hearing Brian Cleary has improved immensely and doesn’t look like the same quarterback from a year ago. He’s a smart guy, for sure, but does he have the talent of Morris? Probably not. It would be ideal to redshirt Morris. Ideal.. But this is not an ideal situation with Russell Bellomy out — amazing how an injury can change so much. I don’t think Morris redshirts, and I think he’s the backup, but NOT before Cleary gets a shot.
JH: Who do you feel on the offensive side of the ball is going to breakout and have himself a big year?
Chengelis: I want to say a few names on the offensive line, but it’s tough to single out a lineman, isn’t it? (Still, I think Kyle Kalis and Jack Miller will be hugely important to how this offense goes). You’ve got to look at the big young receivers, Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson. People are more familiar with Darboh, having seen him a bit last year, although he didn’t catch a pass. Chesson is coming off a redshirt year, and I love his approach. Both are athletic, both can make the big play.
JH: How about the defensive side of the ball? Who is going to have a huge year?
Chengelis: I think we all think Frank Clark will have a big year. The defense is designed for him to have a big year. He is a tremendous athlete with so much upside. I also think Blake Countess, coming off the knee injury that knocked him out last season, has plenty to prove and will progress as he should have a year ago at cornerback.
JH: Out of all the members of the impressive freshman class Hoke has coming in, who is going to establish himself the quickest on the depth chart and who will have the best season?
Chengelis: Taco Charlton. We’ve heard his name a lot this preseason, and I think Greg Mattison likes how Charlton practices. Now, it’s about game action. In the end, we probably will hear Shane Morris’ name, too, and don’t forget what I said earlier, De’Veon Smith.
JH: Final question, do you feel this is a Rose Bowl caliber team? A lot of talk is made about the Buckeyes and how they were undefeated last year. But, do you think Michigan can get past them potentially twice this year?
Chengelis: First of all, I know what Kirk Herbstreit said recently about the traditionalists not wanting to see Michigan-Ohio State in back-to-back weeks. I’m a traditionalist and I want to see it — why not? Only time it can happen, and how cool would that be, especially if you consider where both teams might be going into that final regular-season game and will that change strategies, etc. Ohio State will be very good, no doubt. The Buckeyes lost quite a bit on defense, but like Michigan, they have a lot of younger guys who got some experience a season ago and will be ready to step in. Michigan is a young team, but it’s a young team with the kind of talent Brady Hoke wants to coach and mold. I like Michigan’s chances — with a healthy Devin Gardner — in the final regular-season game at Michigan Stadium. A potential meeting in the Big Ten title game? That’s what I want to see, but that one is tough to call.